On Sunday, February 28, 2021, we did another Live test. This time with integrated amplifiers between 1200 and 1500 euros. As usual we wrote to all manufacturers that are in our system with a model that would fit in this test. Unfortunately there is a worldwide shortage of parts – especially chips – which makes deliveries rather problematic. But that does not mean that we weren’t able to get four beauties in front of us! Cyrus, Marantz, Naim and Primare provided us with a nice test candidate. Maestro… Music!
Like many other Live Tests, this test was done in collaboration with Artone Studios. The acoustics, the knowledge and the equipment there is great. In short: we love being there.
To be able to test the amplifiers well and realistically, we grabbed a few speakers that are easy to drive and can let us hear everything. We ended up with the DALI Rubicon 6. But not just any set of Rubicon 6. These are the Jubilee Edition. In Ash Black. Beautiful. And this pair plays a bit more exciting than the ‘normal’ Rubicon 6 we have already noticed.
The nice thing about DALI speakers is that they have a nice, flat impedance curve, making them friendly to amplifiers. Including tube amplifiers.
Now, DALI speakers should normally always be pointing straight forward. However, that doesn’t always work. Your editor plays with a pair of Epicon 2 and they are also placed with a slight toe-in (only a few degrees…). Also now we give them a little toe-in to hear a little more sparkle. It also works much better with the sampling set-up. We get a more realistic result with a little toe-in.
The rest of the system is fairly familiar to regular readers and viewers: Metrum Acoustics Pavane DAC, Ambre streamer and cabling from Grimm (TPM), Driade (Flow speaker cable) and Audioquest (NRG-1000 power). The amplifiers all get a standard power cord to test as fairly as possible.
We use three tracks to assess as many elements of the system as possible:
- Steven Wilson – Perfect Life – vocal and space
- Daft Punk – Georgio (by Moroder) – (bass) energy and space
- Jacques Loussier – Little Fuge in G Minor – dynamics – transient information
We also played Jacques on vinyl for “fun. Funny enough, that turns out to be a different master than our digital version. This is very clearly audible during the test.